Kolo talks up 'England's biggest game'
- 04 April 2013 09:33
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Kolo Toure believes that the Manchester derby has become the biggest game in English football.
Although City trail their neighbours by 15 points, the defender regards Monday's fixture as the most hotly-contested that the Premier League has to offer.
Toure is a veteran of many North London derbies from his time at Arsenal but the Ivorian considers that the battle for Manchester these days has more in common with meetings between the Gunners and Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at the turn of the millennium.
“Back when I was playing in North London derbies, it was only Arsenal and Manchester United fighting for the title and that was the biggest competition but today it's more like City and United," the March Etihad Player of the Month nominee said.
It’s the biggest game of the season for both teams but also for the Premier League - it will be a big battle, a big fight again.
“We need to try and win this game - we don’t want other teams to catch us because we want to make sure we get second but at the same time we want to close the gap at the top.”
Fresh from the 4-0 demolition of Newcastle United and with a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea in the offing, competition for places is sure to provide an extra dose of motivation to the squad ahead of the game.
But Kolo suggested that there could be a lot more than this inter-squad competition and the usual local bragging rights at stake when the cross-city rivals meet.
"It will be a tough game, we know the title is difficult and that they are in front of us," Toure stated.
"It’s going to be really important mentally for us – we lost the game at home and it’s important for us to try and win it back.
"We played a great game against Newcastle but now we need to be focused, prepared and to give 100% on Monday.
At least if we can win against them now, like I said it’s hard to win the title now but it’s still such an important game for us and we will approach it this way.
Vincent Kompany was injured 21 minutes into City’s 3-2 defeat to the Red Devils in December and Kolo emerged from the bench to remind everyone that he is still one of the classiest defenders around in a 70 minute turn alongside Matija Nastasic.
There were five goals and plenty of controversy in that attractive, wholehearted clash and Toure thinks that there will be more of the same on Monday night.
“I think it’s going to be a really open game, both teams will try to win, there’s nothing really to lose for either team,” he declared.
“I think that will be reflected in the style of match - I think both teams will be giving everything to try to give pride to their fans.”